The Syracuse basketball program has decided to reverse course in regards to who will be coaching their basketball team next season. The school had previously announced that the hall of fame basketball coach Jim Boeheim would be stepping away at the end of the year, largely due to the NCAA violations brought forward against the school.
On Sunday night, they announced their intentions to retain Boeheim beyond this season.
The coach that was originally intended to fill his shoes at Syracuse, Mike Hopkins, abruptly took a job at Washington, meaning there was suddenly a vacancy at Syracuse. Essentially, Boeheim filled the vacancy that was created by his own departure. According to Syracuse A.D. John Wildhack, Boeheim was the best available coach for the job.
“There was a signed contract in place for Mike to assume the head coaching position after next year — and one in place for Jim’s deal to expire.” Wildhack said he went to Jim Boeheim after Hopkins told him he was leaving. “Once I knew Mike was leaving, there was a head coaching vacancy after next year. I wanted to get the best person to fill it, and decided Jim was the best person. That was my recommendation to the chancellor. I wanted to move fast, to make sure there was continuity in place.”
Something smells fishy here, though. It’s an unusual situation, to say the least. Speculation suggests that there was something working behind the scenes that might have pushed Hopkins to take a job at Washington so that Boeheim could stay on at Syracuse. Boeheim never wanted to be forced to retire, and now he won’t have to.
The scandal was bad enough to ask Boeheim to leave, but not bad enough to keep him from being re-hired?